Sydney’s Evan Stroeve wins Australia’s best bartender

April 28, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Evan Stroeve from the newly opened RE in Sydney has been named Australian winner in the 2021 Diageo Reserve World Class Competition.

Evan Stroeve took home the coveted title of The Australian World Class Bartender of the Year for 2021 after impressing the judges in each challenge with his skill, consistency and creativity.

Stroeve competed against Kayla Saito (Leonardo’s Pizza Palace, Melbourne) and David Aznar (Rosella’s, Gold Coast) across three challenges in the finals hosted at Paramount House Hotel in Sydney last night. With a huge crowd of supporters, Stroeve was cheered on by fellow hospitality workers and his proud parents, Wendy and Hans Stroeve, who travelled from Bathurst to cheer their son on for the final challenge of the day: Speed Round.

Stroeve pulled together seven cocktails in six minutes and still had enough time up his sleeve to clean up. It was a most impressive show of talent. Earlier in the day, he had impressed the judges in the sustainability challenge: Future Proof, Sustainably Bottled

Strove leveraged his knowledge, passion and experience from the newly opened RE for this challenge using Diageo Reserve brand, Ketel One. The bottled cocktail initiative he presented raised enough money to be donated to Greening Australia, offsetting 12 tonnes of carbon and ensuring that the entire World Class finals yesterday were carbon neutral.

He will now compete against more than 60 other global finalists representing their country in the global final from 4-8 July when he will be tasked with livestreaming his skills as he makes his way through a series of competition tasks set to take bartending standards to the limit.

Stroeve said of the win: “I have competed in the Diageo World Class three times now and to finally take out the win surrounded by my family, friends and long term mentor Tim Philips-Johansson (Owner of Bulletin Place and Previous World Class Global Winner) is a momentous moment in my career, I’m still letting it sink in!” 

“I was so excited to be able to showcase what we do at RE and what I have learnt from Matt Whiley (owner of RE) especially within the Ketel One sustainability challenge. The level of talent in the competition was incredibly high so it’s a massive achievement not only for me, but hopefully this shows Australia the calibre of cocktails we create at RE and they stop in to say, ‘hi and congrats’.”

Krystal Hart, Australia’s World Class Ambassador added, “Coming together last night at Paramount House to watch these incredibly talented individuals battle it out was beyond and I’m so excited to see Evan represent Australia in the global finals and show the world what we are made of.”

The 2021 Australian competition also saw bartenders compete in the new digital format; a move forced by the impacts of Covid-19 internationally. Entrants lodged their drinks via the Diageo Bar Academy before competing in challenges using Reserve Brands including Don Julio tequila, Ketel One vodka, Tanqueray No.TEN gin, and Johnnie Walker Black Label blended Scotch whisky to experiment with flavour, balance and creativity. 

Currently in its 12th year, the World Class Bartender of the Year competition continues to support, educate and inspire more than 350,000 bartenders through its advocacy programs. Now spanning more than 60 countries, with more than 10,000 bartenders entering the competition each year, it continues to be instrumental in transforming fine drinking and cocktail culture around the world. 

The World Class Global Bartender of the Year finals will be held virtually from the 4-8 July. The five-day spectacular will be packed full of immersive opportunities for people to both watch the competition and engage with some amazing virtual and interactive experiences. From events to trend-led panels, masterclasses to AR-bars, the entire festival has been reimagined to adapt to the realities of today’s climate.

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